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My experience with GMAT preparation

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My experience with GMAT preparation [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2014, 02:51
Hi,

I took GMAT a few days ago and scored 750 on the first try (49 quant, 44 verbal). Since I have found plenty of useful advice on forums, I wanted to share my "story" of how I prepared and hopefuly somebody will find it helpful.

I started seriously thinking about doing GMAT about 6 weeks ago before taking the test. I didn't have any strict deadline, but wanted to have it done by the end of July.

First I took the LBS simulator test.
I could identify two major problems:
1. My knowledge of math was good for the quant section, but I was very slow and was making too many mistakes.
2. I was struggling with the verbal section in general
I made some use of The Economist GMAT preparation tool, but only for a week (free trial period). It taught me a couple of useful concepts, mainly the importance of making estimates and not trying to calculate everything precisely in geometry questions. It didn't seem to be as useful for the verbal section. Hence, it seemed way too expensive to use it beyond the free trial perior.

I believed practising a lot for the quant part was more useful to me than studying, so I purchased a set of practice tests from Veritas prep. I usually did one or two of them over a weekend, sometimes only the quant part. I didn't have time to study for GMAT during weekdays (I took four days off from work before the test day).

For the verbal section, I purchased Manhattan GMAT Verbal Strategy Guide Set books. I didn't spend much time reading them (about 15 hours total), but it seemed to me that each book helps a lot even if you just quickly go through it. My practice tests results on Veritas prep were getting better, as you can see in the attachment (I can't post URLs).

When the results seemed good, I registered for the test. I then took a practice test of the official GMATPrep tool and scored 710. I took another one two days later and scored 690, which I definitely wasn't happy about. I studied the verbal strategy books a bit more and scored 780. That was four days before the official test day. It gave me confidence, I didn't study much more... And scored 750.

My key takeaways:
1. Even if your math skills are good, you probably need to practise, as GMAT is fairly different then math exams at schools and universities (I studied engineering).
2. Veritas prep tests quant tests are fairly reliable, but the verbal section seemed easier than the real test.
3. There is a lot of variance in test results, mainly the verbal section. I did three official practice tests and the real one over eight days and my score ranged from from 690 to 780. I scored 49 or 50 in each of the quant sections, but the verbal score ranged from 35 to 47, which is A LOT. Sure my concentration and thus performance were varying, but not as much as the results would suggests. I think there is a fair bit of randomness in the results and if you score 700 one day, you might score 760 the next day.
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File comment: My practise tests results (Veritas prep).
Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 11.29.17.png
Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 11.29.17.png [ 74.85 KiB | Viewed 423 times ]

Manhattan GMAT Discount CodesKaplan GMAT Prep Discount CodesVeritas Prep GMAT Discount Codes
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Re: My experience with GMAT preparation [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2014, 10:44
Expert's post
Hi Adam,

Thanks for sharing your GMAT journey! I'm glad that you made some use of Economist GMAT Tutor, even if only for a week. :)

Regards,

Elizabeth
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Re: My experience with GMAT preparation [#permalink] New post 24 Jun 2014, 09:31
Your mail is very inspiring for someone like me who is just about starting the preparation, though I know for sure that it will take me much more time than it took you to prepare.

Also I noticed that in all your tests, your variance in quant is much less than your variance in verbal. Is this normal and does it have some lessons for us as beginners? Overall, I have always been quite comfortable with maths, so I feel that english will be the primary area where I would need to focus more. You do mention Manhattan verbal guides, but say that you only used them very briefly.

So, can you suggest what exactly bumped up your score so much in verbal?
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Re: My experience with GMAT preparation [#permalink] New post 24 Jun 2014, 11:26
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tiklis wrote:
Your mail is very inspiring for someone like me who is just about starting the preparation, though I know for sure that it will take me much more time than it took you to prepare.

Also I noticed that in all your tests, your variance in quant is much less than your variance in verbal. Is this normal and does it have some lessons for us as beginners? Overall, I have always been quite comfortable with maths, so I feel that english will be the primary area where I would need to focus more. You do mention Manhattan verbal guides, but say that you only used them very briefly.

So, can you suggest what exactly bumped up your score so much in verbal?


Although I used the Manhattan guides only briefly, I think that you get 80% of the knowledge after a brief study, you don't need to go very deep. It seems to me that GMAT likes to ask specific types of questions that, once explained to you in the guide, suddenly become more manageable.

It also helped me to practice whole tests, not just stand alone exercises, because a large part of doing well is being able to concentrate for the whole time. I definitely struggled with that in the beginning, so I had to read every question twice or three times... And I still didn't get it, because there where other things on my mind. As the test day was approaching, I was naturally more stressed and hence more concentrated, which translates to better reading comprehension.

I also need to point out again than there is a lot of variance in verbal scores, at least for me there was...
Re: My experience with GMAT preparation   [#permalink] 24 Jun 2014, 11:26
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